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Showing posts with label PBS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PBS. Show all posts

Friday, February 6, 2009

Freedom For Very Intelligent Negroes Only.

I have a confession to make this new Abe Lincoln is not the one I remember from my history class. The Lincoln in my mind didn't want to let my people go. Etch in my brain from early on is a Lincoln who did not like my people. I remember reading about the great abolitionist, Frederick Douglass, who was a constant thorn in Lincoln’s side. I believe the work of Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr is some of the best there is. Professor Gates have a documentary airing Wednesday Feb. 11 on PBS in which he talk about the myths of Honesty Abe. Professor Gates says there are two Lincolns—the one we studied in school, the one full of myths that we have made into the image we wanted him to be, and the other, the real Lincoln. Gates also said many believe, erroneously, that because Lincoln signed The Emancipation Proclamation, he was always against slavery and an advocate for black people. Many believe that the Proclamation freed all slaves immediately and forever. The book and film show the real Lincoln as a man who struggled, along with his country and culture, over the inherent worth of black people. Article here..

Gates said Lincoln wrestled with his own use of the ‘n-word,’ which he used publicly until at least 1862, and which most Lincoln scholars today find so surprising and embarrassing that they consistently avoid discussing it. In the early 1860s, Lincoln seriously considered a proposal to deport all black people and colonize them in Liberia, the Caribbean, and/or Latin America. He was dissuaded primarily by the high cost, not by the immorality of such a venture. In April 1865, Lincoln gave a speech in which he advocated the right to vote for “Very Intelligent Negroes” and 200,000 black Civil War veterans. The rest he apparently would allow to remain in sub-citizenship because of a lingering belief that blacks, as a race, were not as gifted or intelligent as whites and the few who were should be regarded as exceptions.